Golden high for Sania-Saketh

Indian duo beats Taipei's team to win mixed doubles final; men's doubles pair settles for silver

Golden high for Sania-Saketh

Saketh Myneni combined with doubles ace Sania Mirza to claim the mixed doubles gold at the 17th Asian Games, making up for the disappointment of a silver medal in the men’s doubles category here on Monday.

Determined to nail at least one gold after being in contention for five at the start of Sunday’s play, Myneni and Sania, the second seeds, eased past the top-seeded Chinese Taipei duo of Hsien Yin Peng and Hao Ching Chan 6-4, 6-3.

Taking the court earlier after play was suspended for three hours following heavy rain in the morning, Saketh and Sanam waged a tough battle in the men’s doubles section but eventually went down 7-5, 7-6 (2) to South Korea’s Lim Yongkyu and Chung Hyeon.

The tennis contingent, missing top players Somdev Devvarman, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna here owing to professional tour commitments, thus wrapped up their campaign on a high, clinching one gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

“It has been a pretty good week. We (she and Prarthana Thombare) got a medal (bronze) in women's doubles which is huge because it's something that we never did. I had to be the leader. It’s a young team we came here with, didn’t come with the best team possible, especially with the guys. Five medals, including a gold, is pretty awesome,” said a delighted Sania.

Sania and Saketh were on top of their game from the start of the contest. With Saketh serving big, Sania played able ally, her vast experience easily visible.

The Indians broke the Taipei duo in the seventh game of the first set to go 4-3 up. They held their serve and soon served out the next game to 1-0 up. They began the second set in confident fashion, breaking the Taipei pair in the second game.

Another break of insurance was achieved in the seventh game and the Indians, with their tails up, closed out the match in the ninth game, breaking for a third time and sealing India’s sixth gold.

Earlier Saketh and Sanam fought hard in the men’s doubles but were outdone by Lim and Chung. Both the teams gave nothing away until the Koreans broke for the first time in the crucial 12th game to win the opening set 7-5.

The second set too was an intensely fought affair with the games going on serve until the tie-breaker. Sadly, the Indians were unable to maintain the same intensity in the tie-breaker, losing it 2-7 and with it the gold.

Results, final: Men’s doubles: Lim Yongkyu/ Chung Hyeon (Kor) bt Saketh Myneni/ Sanam Singh (Ind) 7-5, 7-6 (2).

Mixed doubles: Saketh Myneni/ Sania Mirza (Ind) bt Hsien Yin Peng/ Hao Ching Chan (Tpe) 6-4, 6-3.

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